In this file photo, Gemma Lubigan (wearing shades), wife of Trece Martires City, Cavite Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan, accompanied by the lone witness (wearing a white t-shirt) arrive at the Department of Justice in Manila to file two counts of murder and a frustrated murder charge against Trece Martires City Mayor Melandres De Sagun.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, File
DOJ: Trece Martires mayor cleared of murder raps over vice mayor's slay case
Kristine Joy Patag ( - February 12, 2019 - 6:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — State prosecutors cleared Trece Martires Mayor Melandres de Sagun over the killing of the city’s vice mayor, Alex Lubigan, in July last year.

In a message to reporters, Justice Undersecretary Mark Perete said the National Prosecution Service last week resolved the murder complaint over the killing of Lubigan.

The prosecution indicted Ariel Paiton, believed to be the gunman in the case, for murder while Maragondon, Cavite Councilor Lawrence Arca was indicted as an accessory to the crime, said the Justice spokesperson.

READ: Police sues Trece Martires mayor over killing of town's vice mayor

Perete said the complaint against De Sagun, Luis Abad Jr. and Ronel Bersamina was also dismissed.

A copy of the resolution has yet to be made public as of this story’s posting.

De Sagun denied the allegation against him and asserted his innocence.

He earlier said: “I have been involved in politics for the longest time... I have never been involved in any altercation with the law much less kill or have someone killed in the name of politics.”

De Sagun, who is on his third term, said he has no motive to kill Lubigan since he is not running for any position in next year’s elections.

Lubigan and his wife’s aide Romulo Guillemer were killed by an unidentified gunman who shot at the vice mayor's Toyota Hilux along Trece Martires-Indang road on July 8.

Lubigan’s death came days after the murders of Tanauan City, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili and General Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote. 

At least 19 local executives have been killed since the start of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

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